Off Book is a web-only series from PBS Arts that expands the definition of art. Each episode will explore a cutting-edge genre that invites you to engage with the artists and creative... More

Off Book is a web-only series from PBS Arts that expands the definition of art. Each episode will explore a cutting-edge genre that invites you to engage with the artists and creative process.

"Can Fandom Change Society?"

September 6, 2012
Before the mass media, people actively engaged with culture through storytelling and expanding well-known tales. Modern fan culture connects to this historical tradition, and has become a force that challenges social norms and accepted behavior. Whether the issue is gender, sexuality, subversiveness, or even intellectual property law, fans participate in communities that allow them to think outside of what is possible in more mainstream scenarios. "Fannish" behavior has become its own grassroots way of altering our society and culture, and a means of actively experiencing one's own culture. In a sense, fans have changed from the faceless adoring masses, to people who are proud of their identity and are stretching the boundaries of what is considered "normal".